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Microsoft Lets Students Crowdsource Their Next Computer

Microsoft is launching a new service that lets students crowdsource funding for their next computer for school. As part of the offering, Microsoft is chipping in on the price and providing students with free software.

Targeted toward graduating high school seniors and college students, the service, called Chip In, is something like a registry, providing a selection of laptops, desktops, and all-in-one systems that students can register to purchase. Students create a profile for themselves, then publish (through Facebook) their call for contributions from family members and friends. Microsoft is contributing 10 percent of the purchase price.

Once the funding level is reached, the computer is shipped out to the student. In addition to the computer, Microsoft is providing students with a four-year subscription to Office 365 to the first 10,000 students whose computers are funded by Sept. 1. The Office 365 applications can be downloaded to up to two devices. The service also provides an additional 20 GB of SkyDrive storage and 60 Skype "world minutes."

The only requirements other than a Facebook account is a valid .edu e-mail address or some other proof of enrollment in an accredited institution.

There are currently 15 computer models from which to choose, all entry level or midrange in price (from a low of $404 for an ASUS 11.6-inch laptop to $1,165 for a 24-inch Sony Viao all-in-one). Other manufacturers include Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba. Two Microsoft Surface tablets are also among the offerings.

The Chip In service is available to students starting now and will run through Sept. 1. Additional details can be found at

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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